the most recognized symbol of America to generations of people fleeing
toward freedom, the Statue of Liberty is none the less the first and undisputedly
the greatest lighthouse on the Hudson River. A beacon not just to emigrants
and travelers, the Statue as a lighthouse marks the entrance to the inner
harbor of New York and warns ships away from the rocky shoals of the western
Standing 305 feet above the harbor, the great torch
of Lady Liberty heralds a welcome to man and ship alike, showing the way
to the promise of harbor and safety. Lady Liberty's torch can be seen
from well beyond the Verizano Narrows, the mouth of New York harbor, well
out to sea.
Long forgotten is the fact that the Statue of Liberty
was once a lighthouse. Congress accepted France's monumental gift as work
of art and a beacon for New York harbor in 1877. After Liberty's dedication
and unveiling in 1886, President Cleveland appointed the US Light-House
Board to be its caretaker. Engineers set up a steam dynamo plant on Bedloe's
Island and fourteen arc lamps, nine in the torch and five others positioned
strategically below at the angles of Fort Wood. Even so, the dimness of
the lighting was little help to vessels entering the harbor and efforts
were made to increase the illumination. In 1897 , an oil-generating engine
was installed to power the lights, but they were still insufficient, and
the Liberty Lighthouse closed in 1902. Today, visitors to Liberty Island
can learn more about the old Liberty Lighthouse from park rangers.
Statue of Liberty was declared a national monument by Presidential proclamation
on October 15, 1924, the monument boundaries being set at the outer edge
of old Fort Wood. The War Department continued to administer the entire
island until, in 1933, again by Presidential proclamation, the Statue
of Liberty National Monument was transferred to the jurisdiction of the
Department of the Interior, the Army retaining the remainder of the island
as a military post.
In 1937, another Presidential proclamation declared
the Army Post abandoned and jurisdiction of the entire island passed to
the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
While Bedloe's Island, with an area of approximately
12 acres, is located in the Upper Bay of New York Harbor, it is geographically
in the territorial waters of New Jersey. The island itself above the mean
low-water mark is in New York State, pursuant to an interstate compact
entered into by New Jersey and New York in 1834. The State of New Jersey
retains the riparian rights to all the submerged land surrounding the
statue and extending eastward to the normal interstate boundary line at
the middle of the Hudson River Channel.
The actual location of Bedloe's Island is approximately
three-eighths land miles offshore from Jersey City, N. J., which is the
source of telephone, power, and water services. It is about 1-5/8 land
miles from the Battery, at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York
City. Transportation and mail services are provided by boat from the Battery.
At present a privately owned ferry line is operating under contract with
the United States Government.
the Statue of Liberty is extremely easy. You can board a ferry at Battery
Park in New York City or at the Central Railroad Terminal located at the
north end of Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Fare is charged for the
trip and access to both the Status of Liberty Park and Ellis Island. Liberty
Island is open from 9:30am until 5pm every day except Christmas.
The ferry ticket office closes prior to park's closing.
Due to the park's security procedures please allow for ample time in your
visitation plans. Adult Ticket: $10.00, Senior (62 and over): $8.00, Child
(4-12): $4.00, Under 4:Free.
Liberty Island, the statue and its base were closed
immediately after the events across the harbor of September 11, 2001.
On December 20, 2001 Liberty Island was reopened to the public for visits,
but the statue and museums located in the base remain closed. Visitors
to the island can tour the grounds and outdoor exhibits and take free
scheduled tours guided by Park Rangers. The 45 minute tours explain the
conception, construction, and restoration of one of the world's greatest
monuments. Island history and harbor environs and answers to any question
you may have are covered by our Stetson-wearing staff. Schedule of offerings
posted at Information Center.
The New Colossus
"New Colossus": written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. Proceeds
that were raised from its auction were used to complete the pedestal
of the Statue of Liberty. This plaque memorialized the sonnet in 1903
and was placed on the inner walls of the Statue's pedestal. It currently
is displayed in the Statue of Liberty exhibit. The original handwritten
sonnet is housed by the American Jewish Historical Society.
like the brazen giant of Green fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land,
Here at our sea-washed, sunset- gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome, her mild eyes command
The air-bidged harbor that twin-cities frame.
ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she,
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddles masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore;
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The Statue From The Inside
Entrance to the base of the statue is through the high walls of
old Fort Wood, through what was originally the fort's principal
sally port. Its doors are 4 inches thick.
To the left of these heavy doors is a bronze
tablet on which is inscribed the Emma Lazarus sonnet, The New Colossus,
quoted on page 1. Of the many poems pertaining to the statue, this
is the most widely known. It was written in 1883 for the Portfolio
of the Art Loan Collection to aid the pedestal fund.
2. The walls of the fort, more than 20-feet thick
at the base, are pierced by a corridor of brick vault-work which
opens into the passageway leading to the stairway and to the elevator
within the pedestal foundation.
A small fee is charged adults for use of the
elevator which goes to the balcony level, near the top of the stonework,
a height equal to that of a 10-story building.
In the corridor beyond the elevator shaft several
interpretive wall plaques are mounted.
3. During pleasant weather, many visitors take
the stairway, reached by a passageway on the right side of the sally
port corridor to the promenade which, more than 50 years ago, was
the terreplein, or gun platform, of the old fort.
4. Now paved, the space between the wall and
the terraced lawn surrounding the pedestal provides a pleasant walk
and affords an opportunity to study the details of the statue's
5. From the promenade, stairways lead to the
second level within the pedestal. Here are the dedication tablets
presented by the Franco-American Union, donor of the statue and
the American Committee which erected the pedestal.
6. Six stories above is the fourth level, at
the foot of the statue. On this floor are several additional plaques,
like those in the passageway below, upon which are excerpts from
the written works of great Americans. From here one may ascend the
spiral stairway system to the crown, 12 additional stories above,
or go out on the balcony to view New York Harbor and read the interpretive
labels which describe the surrounding area.
7. In the spiral there are 2 stairways, each
of 168 steps, winding about the same central column within the towerlike
supporting structure of the statue. One is for ascending, the other
for descending. There are two rest platforms, situated at one-third
and two-thirds of the distance to the top, which enable visitors
to pause without delaying those behind them. Anyone finding the
climb too arduous may cross over to the descending stair.
The right arm, which holds aloft the torch, has
been closed to the public for many years. The ladder in this arm
is now used by the maintenance staff in replacing the lighting equipment
in the torch.
8. At the top of the stairway is the observation
platform within the head—260 feet above sea level and large
enough to accommodate 30 people. Visitors may look through a series
of 25 windows which are the jewels of the crown beneath the 7 rays
of the diadem. From this level can best be seen the tablet of the
law in the left hand of the Goddess of Liberty, bearing the Roman
letters of the date July 4, 1776.
From within the crown, or more conveniently from
the balcony surrounding the pedestal, a splendid view is afforded
of the changing panorama that is New York. On clear days objects
within a radius of 15 miles can be seen. To the north is the George
Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. The Manhattan sky line,
the bridges spanning the East River, Governor's Island, and the
main channel through which pass the world's largest ships are in
the immediate foreground. To the south, the visitors can see the
shore of Raritan Bay, N. J., and Staten Island, guarded by Forts
Hamilton and Wadsworth. To the southwest is the great steel arch
bridge over Kill van Kull, joining Staten Island to the New Jersey
mainland. In this area are acres of tanks and refining equipment
which identify the region as one of the largest oil-refining centers
in the United States.
Due west of the island are the heavily industrialized
areas of New Jersey. The eastern terminals of the Lehigh Valley,
Jersey Central, Lackawanna, and Baltimore & Ohio Railroads are
located here. Farther west and northwest, the great Pulaski Skyway
and the series of bridges over the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers
are easily discerned.
To the north also lies Ellis Island. Through
this island's gateway, from 1892 to the beginning of World War I,
came 10 million immigrants, to whom the Statue of Liberty represented
the freedom which they sought in the New World. Today, most immigrants
see Ellis Island only as they sail by. Only those who cannot pass
the immigration inspection at Quarantine in the Narrows are held
at Ellis Island until their cases are disposed of.
This text is taken from a 1954 guide NPS
Statue of Liberty
New York, NY 10004
of Liberty Vital Statistics
|Height from to of base to torch
|Ground to tip of torch
|Heel to top of head
|Length of hand
|Head from chin to cranium
|Head thickness from ear to ear
|Distance across the eye
|Length of nose
|Length of right arm
|Thickness of right arm
|Thickness of waist
|Width of mouth
|Length of tablet
|Width of tablet
|Thickness of tablet
|Ground to top of pedestal